Bank Negara issues new guidelines for credit card sales

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has revised the minimum income requirement to apply for a credit card to RM24,000 per annum from RM18,000 per annum with immediate effect.

For applicants or cardholders who earn RM36,000 per annum or less, they would be able to hold only credit cards from a maximum of two issuers, the central bank’s deputy governor, Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, told a media briefing here today.

“For existing cardholders, they need to select their preferred two issuers by Dec 31, 2011,” she said.

Currently, 50 per cent of 3.2 million credit card holders have income below RM36,000.    Nor Shamsiah said cardholders would also be given at least two years to service their outstanding credit card debt for the cards that had been cancelled for the purpose of meeting the requirement.

The maximum credit limit extended to a cardholder also shall not exceed two times their monthly income per issuer. Issuers will be also engaging with affected cardholders to assist them in restructuring their repayment, she explained.

Nor Shamsiah said the new measures on credit cards were to promote prudent financial management among credit card users as well as to ensure credit card debt remained at manageable levels.

As at end-2010, outstanding credit card stood at RM30.8 billion or five percent of household debt. Although credit card usage continued to increase, the non-performing loan(NPL) ratio remained low.

As at end-2010, credit card NPLs accounted for only1.7 per cent of total credit card loans and two per cent of total banking system NPLs.